|The Week That Was
September 30-October 4, 1998
June through August temperature calculations by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) climate model are significantly wrong, according to an article in the Journal of Climate (Vol. 11, 1307-1326). It seems that for three-quarters of the Earth's landmass NCAR's model calculations were more than two standard deviations away from reality. One might be tempted to say the same for Vice President Al Gore.
In any case, it is on the basis of such flawed model calculations that Green activist organizations funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts are now trying to gin up public hysteria over global warming, or at the very least get well-to-do owners of beachfront property to write their congressmen.
One such group, the National Environmental Trust, has been peddling "3-foot sea-level rise devastates coastal communities" videotapes to gullible reporters in Massachusetts, New York, and North Carolina. This has generated several skeptical newspaper editorials, including one in the Christian Science Monitor decrying the "hype" and pointing out that sea levels have been rising for centuries. NET, not surprisingly, fails to address scientific analyses which indicate that a warmer climate--whether human-induced or a natural fluctuation-- would lower sea level not raise it. We would like to remind reporters that just ten years ago, similar groups were passing out global warming videos to the D.C. press showing sea level halfway up the Washington monument. By their own measure, the "coastal catastrophe" would appear to be somewhat diminished.
We would add too that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its 1990, 1992, and 1996 science reports, steadily rolled back its estimates of both temperature increase and sea level rise. Perhaps the activist cliche that governments have to "act now before it's too late" really means "before the problem disappears and bureaucrats can't use it as a tool to shove through more strangling globalization."
Meanwhile global warming promoters are pooling their efforts with more strategic appeals to sectarian interests. National Environmental Trust teamed with Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska) to stage a September 29 telephone press conference for farm-belt reporters, spreading the word that farmers just "might" earn valuable credits in the Clinton Administration's proposed carbon trading scheme. NET told farmers that heatwaves and droughts had caused "major crop damage in some regions," neglecting to discuss the real farm-belt disaster--an El Nino-induced bumper crop of corn and soybeans that drove down prices.
Here in Washington, the Clinton Administration is hinting that it will provide some "transitional assistance" for Americans thrown out of work--"displaced," as the White House Press Office so delicately put it--by implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. This may be the first admission by the White House that Kyoto will cost U.S. jobs.
Mr. Gore, of course, has the situation well in hand. Greens and Labor representatives, the Labor/Environment Climate Change Working Group, have been meeting since January to work out their differences and will soon present their agreed-upon proposals to White House officials. That no one seems outraged at the direct influence unelected Green activists have on America's national and international policy is an indication of how little real leadership there is in Washington. The United States has dug itself a very deep hole; one day it will have to pull itself out of it.
Last week the recently formed Pew Center on Global Climate Change, another promotional outfit, this one directed by former State Department climate-change negotiator Eileen Claussen, began running a series of advertisements in major national magazines promoting the Climate Treaty. Backed by its "Business Environmental Leadership Council"--i.e., corporations in line for government dollars--the Pew Center's theme is, you guessed it, "act now before it's too late."
Elsewhere, physicist Bob Park reports that a panel convened by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is trying to resurrect the controversy over power lines, voting to list electromagnetic fields as a "possible" carcinogen. Park says this contradicts findings by the National Research Council, the American Physical Society, and the National Cancer Institute that EMFs are not a problem. He notes, however, that several NIEHS panel members are involved in projects whose continuation depends on public concern over EMFs.
More examples of Green sensitivity: This summer, Green activists pressured the New York Department of Environmental Conservation into banning disabled citizens and their motorized vehicles from state forest areas. Handicapped citizens sued and just got the federal district court to slap the DEC with a restraining order. Now it's on to Round 2.
Up in the far north, the Makah Indians finally got the U.S. government to abide by its 1855 treaty and grant them permission to stage an annual gray whale hunt, with five whales the limit. After training for months in their canoes, tribe members were surprised on the eve of their whale hunt to find themselves beset by hate mail, threatening telephone calls, and animal-rights activists who boated into town in a Norwegian-built submarine painted to look like a killer whale and outfitted with an underwater speaker system designed to scare off the quarry. One activist from Vermont told the Makah their culture was a joke and that they ought to stick to government welfare.
Finally, international manipulators have been trying to use the Montreal Protocol on ozone depletion as a shining example of what the bureaucrats could accomplish if only we'd give them free rein on global warming. But this has presented somewhat of a problem. Press statements from the U.S. and Canadian governments and the World Meteorological Organization that "lower atmospheric" chlorine was diminishing and that the ozone layer was "healing" itself (Note to Webster's: delete "healing" from the next edition) tended to conflict with another report, issued punctually at this time every year, that the Antarctic ozone "hole" is now worse than whatever (this year the phrasing was, worse than on the same date two years ago).
Actually, these statements are all a fraud. Chlorine is still increasing in the stratosphere and will continue to do so for another decade or so. Despite this increase, the same kind of government-funded studies that said the ozone layer was depleting have since indicated that ozone stopped depleting around 1993. What is more, any claims--good or bad--about ultraviolet radiation at the Earth's surface are irrelevant since no upward trend was ever detected. Come to think of it, perhaps Montreal is indeed the prototype for the global warming issue.
Medieval thinking casts its lengthening shadow over the planet. Adieu, until next week...
TW2 is compiled by SEPP Research Associate Candace Crandall